Could you imagine checking your herd from the comfort of your living room? Farmers in Missouri recently got the chance to take a closer look at drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, and how they could be used in the field. During the annual Lawrence County Soils and Crops Conference, state soybean specialist Bill Wiebold showed farmers how the drones operate and discussed the legal issues that come with using them. Perhaps not surprisingly, it was the cattlemen at the conference who took a shine to the unmanned airplanes. Jim McCann, president of the Missouri Cattlemen's Association, said using a drone to check his 500-head of cattle would be a "wonderful time saver," especially when the weather is bad. There's even an iPhone app that can stream live video from the drone to your phone. So put away your rain slicker and hang up your hat—for roughly $1,300, you could have eyes on your herd without even having to put your boots on.
Beef Checkoff Brawl
Rancher groups in North Dakota are butting heads over their Beef Checkoff dollars. The North Dakota Stockmen's Association plans to ask the state legislature next year to double the current $1-per-head checkoff fee, which hasn't been changed since 1985. However, the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota—a group that was formed nearly a decade ago by ranchers unhappy with the Stockmen's Association—says the checkoff increase should be agreed upon nationwide, and not by a single state. Regardless of how the politics pan out, Stockmen's Association president Jason Zahn got one thing right: "Attacks on beef and beef production practices are increasing, and the needs of our industry to educate consumers and promote our product continue to grow."
Could We Get That with a Side of Gator-Sticks?
We don't mind a little creativity in the kitchen, but Evan's Neighborhood Pizza in Fort Myers, Fla., is taking locally sourced ingredients to a new level. Enter "The Everglades" pizza, a pie featuring none other than fresh python meat. Is your mouth watering yet? Apparently, the pie was invented as a response to Florida's burgeoning python population and pizza joint owner Evan Daniell says they are "selling them left and right." The pizza costs about $45, and toppings include other swampy delicacies such as alligator and frog. We're sure swamp critters make fine pizza toppings, but we'll continue to stick with pepperoni—at least it's made with beef.
It's Not the Fast Food, It's…the Food
You've heard it all before: Our nation—and more importantly, our children—are suffering from an "obesity epidemic," and fast food is primarily to blame. Only, it's not. At least, that's what a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is saying. Researchers from the University of North Carolina found that a child who regularly eats foods high in saturated fats and sugars at home is more likely to be overweight or obese than one who eats more fruits, vegetables and leaner proteins. This, regardless of how frequently either child frequents fast-food restaurants. We're glad these researchers were able to verify what common sense has told us all along. So go ahead—buy your kid the occasional Happy Meal. Just make sure you get them a cheeseburger, not the chicken nuggets.
Whale Meat Beer
Some dreams die before they are ever realized. Case in point: An Icelandic brewery owner is "disappointed" after his whale-meat beer was banned. The beer, made with whale meat byproducts and oil, was to be released in time for a mid-winter festival in honor of the Norse god Thor. But alas, Thor's hammer came crashing down. It turned out that the brewery had partnered with a whaling company that didn't have a license to produce whale meat.